In the tiny village of Nagoro, deep in the mountains of western Japan, the wind howls down a deserted street with not a living soul to be seen. Yet, the street appears busy, dotted with life-sized dolls that outnumber humans 10 to one, the product of a one-woman bid to counter the emptiness and loneliness felt in Nagoro, like many Japanese villages decimated by depopulation. Continue reading The Japanese village where scarecrows outnumber humans
By Dhanusha Gokulan
When you’re in sunny California — the land of Hollywood, hippie counterculture, fast food, and the birthplace of the Internet — there’s very little not to love. Yet, I did not possess my wanderlust spirits at nighttime. Thanks to mainstream American media, I have to admit: even smiling, friendly faces became menacing scowls to me after the sun set. Continue reading Why a nighttime stroll through LA beat the official tour
By Sami Ha Zen
The upcoming Cannes Film Festival is just two months away — and the thought of it hit me hard one morning.
Continue reading The never-ending story, Switzerland-style
By David Light
Merry World Sleep Day (WSD), everyone! Have you woken up (late), run downstairs and opened your WSD presents already? I hope the kids’ letters reached Slumber Claus in time and the Snooze-mas feast is ticking over nicely. What do you think would constitute a special meal for the occasion? A lot of milk and marshmallows, I suppose. Anyway, facetiousness aside, March 15 does indeed mark World Sleep Day: 24 hours dedicated to celebrate the enjoyment and importance of snuggling up and switching off. True, it may join the long list of ‘festivals’ we never knew existed and are most likely marketing ploys; those including Lumpy Rug Day (May 3), Cheese Pizza Day (September 5) and – a particular favourite – Dunce Day (November 8), though, at least this one does highlight an aspect of life essential for physiological development. So, we guess that’s a feather in its cap over its contemporaries.
Continue reading A World Sleep Day guide to beating jet lag
By David Light
I’m guilty of misremembering much of the 2009 George Clooney-Anna Kendrick-Vera Farmiga vehicle, Up In the Air. While liking the film upon its first and only viewing, as time passed, a scene which resonated during the picture’s debut in my lounge had been reprocessed as needlessly offensive. I’m sure you’re aware of the set piece to which I’m referring. Clooney and Kendrick are embarking on their trip out of a local airport and, at the security scanning point, the elder imparts his well-honed formula applied in order to breeze through. The pearls of wisdom include highlighting groups of travellers to avoid waiting in queues for the x-ray machines, ultimately settling on standing behind ‘Asians’ because they’re ‘efficient’.
Continue reading Airports: How do people still not get them?
By Keith Pereña
Chai! Chai! Chai! Our tour guide asked us to shout thrice for something we wanted and it would magically arrive. It only works for chai though, not money, not fame.
Continue reading The fun I had shouting for chai from a rooftop in Delhi
By David Light
Novelist Gustave Flaubert’s musings on travel, for me, epitomise why casting your gaze on new horizons is vital. In his 1849 memoir detailing a classical sojourn in Egypt*, the French author penned the inspired line: “Travelling makes one modest — you see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” ‘Here, here’. If witnessing the majesty of the Himalayas, attempting to process the natural azure of a Pacific atoll, or fathoming the ancient achievements of Petra’s fourth century BC Nabatean civilisation doesn’t give you a kick in the humbles, nothing shall.
Continue reading Forget the Insta-appeal, go discover the world